When thinking about IT, it's helpful to look at each piece separately....
The first part is all about INFORMATION, and this is key to running your business. Businesses that have an IT department should be staffing functions that add value to the business. These folks have titles like "Business Analyst", "Application Specialist", "Report Writer", "Project Manager", and so on.
What we see in most IT departments is actually, "desktop support specialist", "system administrator", and "network administrator". The problem is that all of the activities performed here are related to TECHNOLOGY, not information. Technology is, by nature, standards-based and typically not very unique from one business to another… just don't tell the IT group this!
When a business activity is standards-based and necessary it is often outsourced. Think about accounting, janitorial, logistics, and payroll. All of these areas are needed for business operations but not best handled in-house. Our accounting firm handles tax prep, FedEx and UPS deliveries, and a payroll processor gets our people paid. Building out the team, tools, and expertise in these areas is hard to justify for most businesses under 500 employees.
Technology is a critical component in today's business operations but is not unique to any given business. What is unique is how a business utilizes INFORMATION to drive decision making and this cannot be outsourced. When looking at your IT strategy it is very helpful to separate the two components and remember to:
Invest in Information and Transition Technology.
Written by: Edward Stringfellow